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  • Teresa Gomes

How (not) to judge a wine by its label - Part 1

Wine consumers are varied, but in regards to the reasons that lead them to buy a particular bottle of red wine - those reasons, they don't change much.


Warning: we buy by emotion and justify by reason.

Here I’ll address some “reasons” that we give ourselves for choosing one wine over another.




But first, let me ask you what reasons do you give yourself? Before reading further, write down five reasons.


Two studies launched in September 2020 talk about buying habits, one in the United Kingdom (Wine Intelligence) and another in the US (The American Association of Wine Economists). The results are similar and we can group them into three main areas - quality, reliability, and price.


In this series today we are going to focus on - quality.


In 1997 when I started working in this sector and in the years that followed, the quality of a wine was synonymous with price. The more expensive, the better the wine was.


At the time, I worked in a store specializing in Port wines and was looking to see who bought the most expensive Vintages. Customers left the store satisfied with the feeling that they had bought “the best wine” in their lives.


Today, fortunately, most consumers have a better perception of quality - the actual taste of the wine. And more often than not, good wines that are being produced in larger quantities tend to have a more affordable price per bottle.


  • How can you assess the quality of a wine?

As a consumer, you can only say whether you like a wine or not, so if it is "good" for you, it will have quality for your palate.

  • Now how do you manage to improve this capacity?

Certainly, you won’t always be drinking the same wine. Imagine driving the same model of car for your whole life, or going on vacation to the same destination abroad. Eventually repetition turns something extraordinary into a routine and your pleasure will only diminish because the act becomes boring.


An important reason for attending a Wine Course is to acquire these assessment tools. To learn how to taste and what to look for in wine that gives it quality. Without continuous experimentation, there will be no results in the end.


Look for new wines, develop your “like” and “don't like” portfolio. Experiment by regions, varieties, or even harvests (year). When building your preference database you’ll start selecting wines with more confidence. And in the end, you’ll see that you’re not even spending more on each bottle of wine.


Arriving March 2021, the second article in the series ‘Buy for trust’.


Did you like this post? Comment below and share it with someone who would appreciate knowing how to choose good wines. Correction, great wines.




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